Detective Kate Miles is back in Tipping Point by Dinuka McKenzie, the third book in the series featuring the likeable detective balancing her job and life with her husband, two kids and various relatives who seem to come to the attention of police far more than she’d like.
by Dinuka McKenzie
Series: Detective Kate Miles #3
Published by HarperCollins - AU
Source: Harper Collins
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
Weeks from Christmas in the sweltering heat of summer, Detective Kate Miles' estranged brother, Luke Grayling, returns home to Esserton to farewell a childhood friend - Ant Reed, dead by suicide. Within days of the funeral, another young man, Marcus Rowntree, is found shot dead in the back paddock of his property.
Almost twenty years ago, Luke, Ant and Marcus were best mates in high school and now two of the three friends are dead. A tragic coincidence? Or is there something more sinister connecting the three men?
When Luke is identified as a person of interest in Marcus's death, Kate once again finds herself in the middle of a media storm, sidelined from the case and battling accusations of conflict of interest. As press attention deepens, and uncomfortable truths about Luke's personal life and past events come to light, Kate is forced to contend between loyalty to the police force, and the bonds of friendship and blood.
Kate’s a likeable protagonist. I was surprised here that her partner seemed to have suddenly disappeared as the ambitious and smooth Josh Ellis played the perfect foil to Kate’s unfettered doggedness. She’s got a new (temporary) boss here and there’s obviously more to that story though McKenzie doesn’t go into too much detail. I wondered if the backstory was on the editing room floor (or bookish equivalent) or if he’ll pop up again and we’ll learn more in future.
I note (in her acknowledgements) McKenzie talks about the challenges with this manuscript and it doesn’t show as it’s a great read (possibly my favourite of the series), starting with the death of a friend of Kate’s older brother (Luke) who seems to dip in and out of Kate’s life. He returns for the funeral and – unfortunately – is there when another of his old mates dies. And even more unfortunately, Luke was at the scene just before the time of death.
Muddying matters is the fact Luke was recently fired from his job. He doesn’t initially tell us why, but we kinda learn the gory details. I’m not sure if I skimmed over this more than usual as I wasn’t really clear on how he came to be in that predicament. And I perhaps would have preferred he be more clearly inculpable but McKenzie doesn’t go down that route. It works though as it means a strung-out Kate is questioning whether her brother could have played a role in his friends’ deaths. And tension comes to a head when a police officer is killed investigating a lead offered up by Luke in his defence.
Given her brother’s potential involvement Kate’s off the case (officially anyway), so it most certainly becomes personal. And it’s interesting here that Kate seemingly becomes jaded, her own exposure to this case and the ethical dilemmas it offers perhaps being a turning point (or rather, a tipping point #seewhatIdidthere?).
I’m really enjoying this series that offers an excellent balance of action and personal-life nuance. McKenzie ends this with changes afoot so I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Tipping Point by Dinuka McKenzie was published in Australia by Harper Collins and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.